Friday, August 22, 2008

Commonwealth Governance HQ to Be Based in Suva

Commonwealth Governance HQ to Be Based in Suva
22/08/2008
Despite Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth, a major step will be taken in the next few weeks which will see one of the headquarters of the Commonwealth to be based in Suva.Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamlesh Sharma who was at the Pacific Forum in Niue has revealed to Radio Australia that the Commonwealth is not in the business of victimising member nations but helping them to overcome their problems.
“Fiji is suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth is not in the business of leaning on member states. We do it cooperatively. For instance, whatever collaboration programs there are that are going on, for instance, regional ones, there is a regional environmental program of governance, which will shortly be inaugurated there and it will be headquartered in Suva. And we have selected the expert managing it and in September hopefully he will be deployed there. So our cooperation with member states continues while we work on the constitutional side.”
Sharma is still hopeful that Fiji will have elections by March 2009.
“The commitment which has been given by Fiji to the forum leaders is to hold the elections in March next year, and as far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the matter is under consideration of a ministerial contact group, and the ministerial action group has also indicated that that is the commitment which the Commonwealth expects will be honoured. This is the commitment that Fiji has made and we are hoping that they would abide by this.”Meanwhile NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clark has raised concern on the Commonwealth setting up its headquarters on a regional environmental programme on governance in Suva.
“It is unfortunate that the host country for significant regional institutions and missions, diplomatic missions, is the country which just got through these coups and is very unstable for everybody.”

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